Commercial Motorcyclists Banned in Uyo By AKHA
19 Nov 2010
Consequence management following the rising wave of armed banditry by commercial motorcyclists in Akwa Ibom State has resulted in the state’s House of Assembly proscribing the activities of commercial motorcyclists in Uyo in seven days from 18th November. The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly acted on a matter brought to the House by the Member representing Essien Udim, Elder Emmanuel Sunday Akpan, over the criminalities of the motorcyclists in terms of assassinations, kidnapping, armed robbery, recklessness, and maiming of their passenger’s limbs through accidents, as well as avoidable death.
This is sequel to the prevailing no-night sailing imposed two years ago on motorcyclists also aimed at curtailing crime. Law enforcement records showed significant success recorded with the no-night sailing policy for motorcyclists. It became critical, however, that daylight robberies and criminalities on account of motorcycle operators assumed an alarming proportion recently. This is in addition to the attendant recklessness and safety concerns of major stakeholders and commuters.
In deliberating the matter in the house, the Chairman House Committee on Works and Transport Elder Akpan called on the House of Assembly to urge the executive to put alternative means of livelihood in place so that commercial motorcyclists could have what to fall back upon, by way of providing more motor vehicles for them. The motion to deliberate on the issue was moved by Barr. Jack Udota and seconded by Elder Sam Ikon.
Further, the member representing Eket, Barr Jack Udota said that commercial motorcyclists who have constituted a major means of transportation in Akwa Ibom State have also done a lot of harm to the people since majority of crimes are caused by them. “Our young men have taken cyclist as a fast way of making money but they have gone beyond that, instead of using it for its major purpose, that is, transporting people, they have also used it as a means of instigating and abating crime”. He called on the House to urge the executive to ban within one week the activities of commercial motorcyclists in Uyo so as to save the lives of the people.
In the past few years, neighbouring states of Abia, Rivers and Cross River have out-rightly banned commercial motorcyclists leading to a dangerous migration to Akwa Ibom State. While the state may have accepted them on the grounds of mobility for movement sake the operators have rather taken to a sinister agenda of mobility for criminality. In the past few years too, government has implemented several management models aimed at making the business work for the operators but they have thwarted every effort of government and in fact became unruly, and took to gangsterism, terrorism, and criminalities. At the same time those patronising commercial motorcyclists in the state had done so under an atmosphere of fear and apprehension, to the regrettable extent that their passengers end up losing their belongings or lives in the process.
Members representing Uyo, Ukanafun, Abak, Okobo, Uruan and Mkpat Enin severally spoke in support of the ban until the motion to ban activities of commercial motorcyclists in Uyo was moved by the leader of the House and seconded by Obong Dan Akpan. Consequently, the Speaker, Mr. Anietie Etuk in his submission said that the activities of motorcyclists in Uyo should be banned in seven days and that government should provide alternative measures to take care of transportation in the state as soon as possible.
While the issue at stake is that the continued use of commercial motorcycles in Uyo constitutes serious compromise for security of residents and safety of road users, the house got compelled to take this decision to ban commercial motorcyclists to make Uyo crime free and the roads safe for all road users. It is expected that the executive arm while implementing the ban will provide commercial alternatives to such among the motorcyclists whose livelihood legitimately depends on the transportation business.
So far, government has shown the way by providing high grade motor-able roads with a zero pothole policy. On transportation government has facilitated the introduction of branded taxis, mini-buses, and luxurious buses to cover major routes of the entire state. With the banning of commercial motorcyclists we will see government take the transportation sector to the next level both in the promotion of a crime free environment, safe roads, as well as human dignity.